NEAR Without the Noise Episode 4: The Open Web Collective and OP Games


At our core, we believe that the future of blockchain is not a zero sum game. The future is one network and many chains. The future is a positive-sum game – it is a multichain world, where founders will build on  NEAR for pieces of their tech stack and leverage others as well” – Mildred Idada

4NTS Guild sat down with Mildred Idada from the NEAR team and Chase Freo from OP Games to talk about one of the most unique and exciting accelerator programs in all of crypto: The Open Web Collective. 

A full link to the talk can be found here. 

The Open Web Collective Is A 3-Month Silicon Valley Based Crypto Accelerator, For Early Stage Crypto Startups

At the beginning of the discussion, Mildred explained the importance of the Open Web Collective in the context of gaining traction for new products based upon where the cryptocurrency space is today:  

I think in crypto, traction kind of starts off with who believes in your vision of the future, well before you have a product to market. That’s actually a really new concept. So how do we test and think about this new way of looking at traction? 

The best solution put forward by the NEAR team is a blockchain agnostic, 3 month, cryptocurrency incubator known as the Open Web Collective, that accepts founders and teams at all stages of product development into their program! 

The Vision Of The Open Web Collective Is To Help Build Out New Crypto Solutions Across Chains

Crucial to the understanding of what the OWC is, is their vision for participation in the new crypto economy. In essence, the OWC is trying to get more developers from Web2, and founders from the traditional startup space into building crypto-based solutions that help advance the ownership economy as well as decentralized infrastructure. 

Batch 1 of the accelerator was much more focused on teams that already understand the space. Going forward our vision is that we can pull more Web2s in. Including those that are already dabbling and those who are less technical (i.e., crypto enthusiasts).

What Does The Open Web Collective Include? 

As a 3 month accelerator, the OWC collective puts teams in touch with mentors, industry experts, and other founders all looking to build a better and more open internet of value. Crucial to advancing this vision, the OWC provides any company with the following help and services during the 3 month adventure:

Funding opportunities. 

Launching a Token and the Considerations Therein (When is the right time to launch a token?). 

Understanding Traction and Product Market Fit: What does traction look like? 

Traction and Crypto Communities: How To Build A Community Around Your Product? 

New Economies and New Ideas Being Spun up (Thinking Through A New Product in the Ownership or Passion Economy). 

As Mildred explained in discussion, crypto-based product models actually have the potential to not just build more open and accessible services, but they can also be funded in new and creative ways: 

What crypto does is literally allow them to remove VC’s altogether, and enable their communities and spectators and that is really awesome and powerful. In the Open Web Collective we focus on these new forms of deal structuring. 

The OWC Includes Group Meetings, Mentor Trainings, and a Network of Experts

During the 3 month accelerator, teams and individuals can expect to have group meetings with other teams, specific mentor trainings based upon the industry or niche that a product fits into, and a lasting network of contacts in the Web3 space. Teams are able to join any event remotely, making the Collective a truly global opportunity for companies from around the world. 

What is good about my experience with OWC is that they really take time to pair you up with mentors that really make sense for your specific business. So it’s not like, okay you are in gaming, someone here knows games’ lets pair you up – that’s not how it works at the very least for the first cohort. It is really them taking the time to understand what inventors have done in the past and what it can do for you, and what you can do as well. 

OP Games: An Open Web Collective Case Study 

OP Games is a Canadian – Filipino team of gamers and developers interested in building crypto-based monetization models for small and medium size game developers who may normally struggle to catch any market share at all because of the size of the Gaming giants. OP Games allows such companies to plug into the crypto economy to host tournaments, and increase the stakes on their games as an alternative revenue stream to advertising. 

Chase went through the first cycle of the Open Web Collective, during which time he refined the idea behind OP Games, to make it more market focused, and sustainable in the long term.  

In terms of the experience that I have and we have with the Open Web Collective and what we have gone through so far on phase 1 of that, it was a really Amazing experience in terms of the support that they provided for the founders. I can elaborate more on that as we go along. Essentially giving us a much more broader understanding of how crypto works in relation to the product that we are building. 

Most importantly, the experience helped him not only refine his product to find a better fit within the existing market, but it also equipped him with the tools he needed to understand the state of his industry in the context of Web3 Adoption: 

In crypto in general, and blockchain, it’s really hard to catch up. Even on the gaming side of things, the new technologies and standards that are emerging you have to keep yourself abreast. Otherwise if you sleep for one week you wake up with a new world altogether. That is probably something that is going to happen continuously. 

Chase Freo, CEO of OP Games

Applications For Round Two Are Open Until December 11th!

Applications for the second round of the Open Web Collective are Open until December 11th. A Submission form can be found here. Remote teams, solo founders, and those just starting to get an idea of their product are all welcome to apply! 

For a full overview of the episode check out the full Youtube video here